Complaints & Disputes
Free, practical consumer advice and information on energy-related matters for the citizens of Scotland
What To Do If You Have An Issue With An Energy Supplier
Disputes with an energy supplier can occur for a number of reasons, but the common first step for you to resolve the issue is to contact the supplier. The supplier’s number can be found on the back of the latest bill or statement you have received from them. Alternatively contact information can be found online. If you don’t know who your supplier is, there are sources that can tell you.
Scottish citizens can contact energyadvice.scot advisers by calling 0808 196 8660 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm) and our specialist advisers can point you in the right direction.
The Meter Number Helpline can identify a gas supplier (number below) and an electricity supplier can be found using the Uswitch website (link below).
Meter Number Helpline:
0870 608 1524
Complaining to an energy supplier is a method that can solve a range of problems with energy company supply and customer service. This process can be started by contacting the supplier by phone or through other methods such as webchat or email (if the supplier uses these methods). Ideally, the issue can be resolved quickly by the company, but a formal complaint may be warranted if this takes excessive time or is not resolved satisfactorily. If this complaint is rejected or unresolved after a certain period, you can escalate the issue to the Energy Ombudsman.
Before contacting the company, you should gather necessary evidence to substantiate your complaint. Useful evidence varies based on the issue (e.g. bills, documents, letters, photos of faulty equipment and notes from phone calls). The company can be contacted in a variety of ways (by phone, email or post) to report and discuss an issue. It is very important for you to keep a record of any communication that you have with the company. This should include the date, time and name of any person that you spoke to about the complaint.
Complaining To Your Energy Supplier
energy tariffs – 0800 980 6005
For customers moving home – 0800 048 0303
For questions about your bill – 0800 048 0202
For prepayment customers – 0800 048 0303
Gas and electricity, boilers and energy efficiency – British Gas
Customer Services – 0333 200 5100
Contract Processing Services – 0333 009 7007
Priority Services (Freephone) – 0800 296 450
Gas & Electricity Suppliers for Home & Business | EDF (edfenergy.com)
General enquiries (domestic) -0345 052 0000
General enquiries (business) -0333 202 4586
Gas and electricity supplier | Renewable energy | E.ON (eonenergy.com)
From a landline – 0800 027 0072
From a mobile – 0345 270 0700
Gas and Electricity Company | ScottishPower
For a cheaper energy tariff – 0345 071 7800
For customer service enquiries – 0345 026 7058
Energy Supplier, Phone & Broadband, Boiler Cover – SSE
The energy company must respond within 8 weeks to avoid the possibility of ombudsman involvement. The company must investigate the issue and come to a decision about how they will respond. They can either send a letter stating that they are taking action to resolve the complaint or a ‘letter of deadlock’ stating that there is nothing more they can do to resolve the complaint.
If your complaint is unsuccessful in reaching the desired outcome, there are two options on how to proceed. The first is to consider changing suppliers. This may not be practical in some cases and may not solve the issue, but if the concerns regard the service received from the company, it may be best to switch. The second option is to escalate the complaint to the energy ombudsman, provided the conditions have been met.
Escalating the Complaint to the Energy Ombudsman
The Energy Ombudsman is an impartial and free service that can investigate energy- escalated complaints. The ombudsman can only be used if you are given a ‘letter of deadlock’ by the company (signifying their rejection of the complaint) or your complaint has gone unresolved for 8 weeks (6 weeks if the complaint is against the SSE). The ombudsman can be contacted by calling:
0330 440 1624
(Monday to Friday-8am until 8pm), Saturday-9am until 1pm),
or by visiting:
If you meet the conditions needed to contact the ombudsman, they will investigate the issue with consideration of both sides. You are required to provide information for this investigation including dates when the issue started, records of correspondence and anything else relevant to the complaint. It is possible for the company to provide evidence of its own or suggest a solution to solve the issue.
Decisions Made By The Energy Ombudsman
The ombudsman has the authority to obligate the company to do one or more of the following if they believe its actions warrant it:
- Take ombudsman recommendations to prevent further issues from arising for you
- Pay a financial award to you
- Take immediate practical action to solve the issue
- Explain what caused the issue that the customer has experienced
- Give a formal apology
The hard limit on the financial award that the energy ombudsman can give is £10,000 but this amount of compensation is rare. The ombudsman does not have to give an award and doesn’t demand them as a form of penalty to companies. When awards are given, they are intended as gestures of good will to customers and ways to put them back in the financial position they were in before the issue arose. For example, the ombudsman has stated that the average award for the time and trouble of escalating the issue to them is £50.
Energy Safety Complaints
There are strict legal requirements for landlords to have their gas supply safety checked once per year and non-landlord owners are strongly advised (but not obligated) to do so as well. A gas safety check must be performed by an engineer that is registered with the government gas regulator – Gas Safe. The engineer must check two key aspects of the gas supply:
- They must ensure gas appliances are suitably fitted, properly connected to the gas supply and burning gas correctly.
- They must ensure there is a suitable air supply for appliances; that flues, chimneys and air vents are not obstructed, and that safety devices are functioning properly. This check can be extended to a full gas installation safety check where the pipes are also inspected.
The Gas Safe register of businesses that can legally carry out gas work. More information can be found by visiting:
It is important to report any safety issues that you notice with the gas supply or gas appliances. Safety issues include but are not limited to:
- A weak yellow flame in the appliance instead of a sharp blue one
- The pilot light of the appliance repeatedly going out
- Black or brown marks on the appliance
- Condensation occurring inside the windows
You should get the appliance(s) serviced if any of these occur or there are other safety issues or concerns.
All landlords in Scotland have an obligation to obtain an electrical safety inspection by a registered electrician of rented properties at least every 5 years and whenever a new tenancy begins.
This inspection must cover any installations in the property that relate to the electrical supply, all electrical fixtures and fittings and all appliances provided. Any appliance that fails this inspection must be removed or replaced immediately. Tenants should contact the landlord if any electrical appliance is unsafe and allow the electrician entrance to do the inspection.
Owners have an obligation to get an electrical safety check by a registered electrician every ten years for a property, every 3 years for a caravan and every year for a pool. This inspection entails testing the switchgear and control gear (e.g. the fuse box), checking the safety of lighting fittings, switches and sockets, checking the wiring system is up to date and safe, and finding any damage or deterioration.
A registered electrician can be found by using the Electrical Safety-First registered electrician finder, available at:
Force Fitting of Prepayment Meters
An energy supplier can switch a customer to a prepayment meter if they owe debt that is not being paid back. The debt must have been outstanding for at least three months and be more than £200 for a single fuel.
Suppliers need to try to come to a payment solution with the customer, such as an affordable payment plan. They can also only fit or switch a customer to a prepayment meter if it is safe to do so.
Ofgem has recently strengthened the rules around when a supplier can use a prepayment meter to recover debt. Some of the rules suppliers must follow are:
- Make at least 10 attempts to contact a customer before a prepayment meter is installed.
- Carry out a site welfare visit before a prepayment meter is installed.
- Refrain from all involuntary installations for the highest risk customers including:
- Households which require a continuous supply for health reasons, including dependence on powered medical equipment
- Households where all occupants are aged 75 years and over (if there is no other support in the house)
- Households with children aged under 2 years old
- Households with residents with severe health issues including terminal illnesses or those with a medical dependency on a warm home (for example due to illness such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, sickle cell disease)
- Where there is no one within the household that has the ability to top up the meter due to physical or mental incapacity.
In some circumstances suppliers need to look more closely at customers situation to confirm a prepayment meter is suitable before moving forward with a prepayment meter. Examples of customers in these situations are:
- Children 5 and under
- Other serious medical/Health Conditions (such as neurological diseases (Parkinson’s, Huntingdon’s, Cerebral Palsy) Respiratory conditions, Nutritional issues (such as Malnutrition) and mobility limiting conditions (Osteoporosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis)
- Serious mental/developmental health conditions (such as clinical depression, Alzheimer’s, dementia, learning disabilities and difficulties, Schizophrenia)
- Temporary situations (such as pregnancy, bereavement).
Before entering a property to fit a prepayment meter, the supplier must have a warrant.
Suppliers don’t need a warrant to remotely switch a smart meter to prepayment mode.
Suppliers need to perform a site welfare visit before fitting or switching the meter. If there is a traditional prepayment meter, the site visit will usually happen after the warrant has been granted.
Once a warrant is granted and site welfare visit completed, or just a site welfare visits for smart meters, suppliers can continue with the switch if they have not found any evidence of the criteria which would prevent them from fitting/ switching the prepayment meter.
The installers need to wear audio or body cameras.
Once a customer has a prepayment meter, the supplier needs to give £30 of credit and check up on the customer after the install.
If the customer pays all the debt off, the supplier needs to give them the option to switch back to a credit meter depending on a credit check.
If a customer is not happy with the decision because they do not think they were treated fairly during the process, or they do not believe a prepayment meter is suitable for them, they should make a complaint to their supplier.
If they are unable to resolve the issue with their supplier, they can take the case to the ombudsman.
The energyadvice.scot team can help in circumstances where you are struggling to resolve issues with energy, including disputes with suppliers over billing and debt.
Call 0808 196 8660 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm).
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